Be a smart homeowner this year and get your home and property properly prepared for winter with our quick and easy fall home maintenance guide.
If you live somewhere that gets cold weather over the Winter months, then you know that if you do a bad job (or no job) of preparing your property for the cold weather, then you can end up paying for it in the Spring. A lot of the lists and tips that you can find to help you do this can be pretty long and intimidating, often leading to nothing getting done at all. (Ask me how I know:)) Chris is in charge of making sure our home is prepared for Winter this year, so I had him write down his list of fall home maintenance tasks to share with us as he was going around and getting all these tasks done the other day. Hope it comes in handy!
12 + 1 Fall Home Maintenance Tasks
1. Clear Downspouts, Check Drainage
The basic annual chore of cleaning the gutters is a must-do every fall but don’t overlook potential hidden clogs inside your downspouts. Often buildup of debris in the trough begins with poor vertical flow so use a garden hose or a bucket of water to check the flow. For downspouts that drain out directly at the base, make sure test flow is rapid and the water drains away of the house. If your downspouts connect to an underground drain, locate the opening and check to ensure rapid flow.
(Courtenay here: Fun fact: Chris gets really excited about proper drainage. The first time we ever went camping together, it rained the whole time and we dug a whole irrigation system to keep the water away from our tent. I always think of downspouts as the grown-up version of that game. OK, back to the Chris and his list now. )
2. Weather Stripping on Doors
If you’ve ever bothered to actually read the instructions on a package of weather stripping you know the adhesive only works above certain temperatures. Unfortunately, if you’re like me, you normally install weather stripping only after you notice the frigid air pouring into the house during the first snowmageddon. Before the snow flies, have a look at all windows and doors for degraded weather stripping or obvious gaps and of course, replace the weather stripping you tried to install last February.
3. Check Grading Around House and Walkways
Proper grading around your foundation is step #1 in keeping your basement dry. The fall season is the best time to prepare your home for both the spring thaw and the spring rains. Also check grading around walkways to avoid ice buildup from melting snow which can create safety hazards during the winter months.
4. Pull Weeds/Clear Debris
There are very few things more annoying than slamming the lip of a snow shovel into a frozen weed hidden beneath the snow, especially if you’re walking behind the shovel. Make sure all surfaces were snow removal is expected are smooth and clear before the shovel is called into action. Weeds and debris can also wreak havoc on your snow blowers.
Related: The Creek Line House Magical, Natural, Weed Killing Potion
5. Shut Off Water Taps
Quick and easy, shut off taps at a point inside the home and drain all water from pipes outside the warm zones of you property.
6. Trim Trees
A good maintenance activity in the early fall when the branches are full and heavy with leaves and local leaf depots are up and running. Waiting until the leaves fall may seem beneficial, however, bare trees will not clearly show where trimming is necessary.
7. Mulch Vulnerable Trees/Plants
Add an excessive layer of mulch to help young and vulnerable plants through the harsh winter conditions. Buy or rent a wood shredder/chipper and combine this activity with tree trimming to recycle the downed branches into free mulch.
8. Clean Garage/Workspaces
If you’re like me and you like to work out in the driveway, now is the time to make sure your indoor workspaces are clean and clear so the work can continue indoors once the mercury plummets and your fingers no longer work properly outside.
Related: The Creek Line House – The Best $454.44 I Ever Spent on my Home
9. Pack up all Outdoor Furniture and Decor
Another simple fall home maintenance task, properly pack and store all your lawn furniture but don’t forget flower pots, lawn ornaments and other decor items. Proper storage away from the elements will extend the life of all your possessions.
10. Move And Clean Barbecue
As an avid griller you can never let the weather stand between you and you favorite grilled masterpiece. Once the patio furniture is stored and space opens up on the deck, move your grill into a position more accessible but still a safe distance from the house. Consider how easy it will be to clear a path in the snow to your grill. Now is also a great time to give the it a good, thorough cleaning inside and out.
11. Check Mailbox Condition
If you’re in a rural area, ensure your mailbox is in a condition that will withstand the wave of snow and ice off the blade of a passing snow plow. If you have door to door delivery in an suburban area, make sure you’re prepared to easily create safe access for your letter carrier.
12. Test Outdoor Lighting
Check all your outdoor lights, especially ones that get very little use and are forgotten during the long, sunlit days of summer. Keep in mind the winter ritual of leaving for work in the dark only to return home after sunset. You will want to make sure all areas around your house are well lit.
12 + 1. Waste Receptacles
+1 (Courtenay here: I totally miscounted when I made the little title graphic. Oops!) Make waste receptacles accessible – Just as clear access to the BBQ makes grilling easy during the harsh winter months, creating a short, clear path to any outdoor waste staging areas will make waste disposal a breeze.
Once you’ve covered this fall home maintenance checklist you can breath a little easier as the harsh winds of winter arrive. Do you have any must-do fall home maintenance tasks we may have missed?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.